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Tags: lugansk | donetsk | nato

Build up Ukraine to Repel Putin's Delusional Expansionism

military exercises ukraine

Sept. 24, 2020 Yavoriv, Ukraine. Military exercises on the Yavoriv training ground, near the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. (Nicktys/Dreamstime.com)

Yuri Vanetik By Tuesday, 22 February 2022 04:50 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

This writer was in kindergarten when his family fled the Soviet Union.

It was the 1970s and my family was fortunately allowed to leave as the Soviets were preparing for the 1980 Olympic Games.

My parents risked becoming refuseniks, but felt we had to escape from oppressive Soviet Ukraine. Once my parents' petition to immigrate was granted, and after a stint in various refugee-style encampments in Europe, we ultimately settled in the state California.

My engineer parents made a better life in America, and often railed against the evils of the totalitarianism from which our family fled.

The film "Star Wars" had been out for a few years when we settled in U.S., and as a little kid I was enthralled by it. I came to view the Soviet empire as an evil force straight out of "Star Wars." Now, over 45 years later, and Vladimir Putin is Darth Vader, breathing down the back of the neck of the now sovereign Ukraine and stoking fears of a World War III --- in the "Twitter-sphere" at least.

Russia has amassed 100,000 plus troops on the border that it shares with Ukraine; Putin has officially recognized separatist regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, and is shaking a fist at the U.S. and NATO. In so doing, the Russian President has exposed America’s gun-shy isolationism after our embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.

Even hawks ask how we could send U.S. troops to repel a Russian invasion, if we won’t secure our own border with Mexico.

Even hawks ask how we could send U.S. troops to repel a Russian invasion, if we won’t secure our own border with Mexico.

Yet someone must intervene if Darth Vader goes too far, and if not the U.S., then who?

Ukraine isn’t a member of NATO, but its next-door neighbors farther west are, all of them former Soviet satellites: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

If the Kremlin wanted to head their way and re-annex them, would we let Russia do that as well? The U.S. signed a de facto treaty in 1994 guaranteeing it would help defend Ukrainian sovereignty in exchange for Ukraine’s surrender of its nuclear arsenal, which was the third-largest in the world.

The United Kingdom was a co-signer. Russia under Boris Yeltsin signed it too.

When Russian troops occupied Crimea in 2014, the Obama administration sent "blankets and sheets" to Ukraine, as President Trump later noted, while Trump sold the country anti-tank missiles.

Unwisely, President Biden has ruled out military intervention if Russia were to invade Ukraine, in favor of economic sanctions.

Stoking panic, he first said a "minor incursion" would bring lesser penalties, then had to walk it back. In a private call recently, he told President Zelenskiy an "imminent invasion" was "a distinct possibility." The White House denies it.

Ukrainians themselves are undaunted. President Zelenskiy plays down the Russian threat and accuses other world leaders of creating a panic.

My friends on the ground in the country — wealthy industrialists, former government officials, and an ex attorney general — concur.

They point out that, even if Putin were to seize, say, the balky Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where up to 70% of the locals identify as Russian and speak the language, the rest of the country would be loathe to fight back.

"What for?" says one of them.

This blasé cynicism is endemic to Ukraine after decades of Soviet rule, followed by three decades of too little improvement under the oligarchs who took control after the USSR’s collapse. High inflation, high unemployment, super-high taxes, slack growth, puny direct foreign investment, sclerotic regulations on business, oligarch domination of the biggest industries—why would any sane world leader want to take on such a mess, some of my local friends say.

Taking over Ukraine isn’t Putin’s real agenda, they argue. Simply by threatening to invade, he may exact a promise that NATO won’t admit Ukraine and show the world he still wields international clout. Looming conflict is also an opportunity for Russia to make more money from rising oil prices.

America should stop the Kremlin from getting away with it. Re-erect Trump’s sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline and impose a broader array of penalties—now. Step up exports of U.S. natural gas to Eastern Europe, and reopen the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. for that explicitly stated purpose.

Longer term, we should help reform and reinvigorate Ukraine’s economy and modernize its military, as I have written elsewhere. The most effective way to repel Putin and his expansionist fantasies for Russia is by economically building up the neighbor next door.

Yuri Vanetik is a private investor, lawyer and political strategist based in California. Read Yuri Vanetik's Reports — More Here.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


YuriVanetik
The most effective way to repel Putin and his expansionist fantasies for Russia is by economically building up the neighbor next door.
lugansk, donetsk, nato
789
2022-50-22
Tuesday, 22 February 2022 04:50 PM
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